We live in a culture that says treat people the way they treat you. Do unto others as they do to you. But the Bible says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means to treat people as you want to be treated- not as you are necessarily being treated.
Our responsibility is to be a light in this dark world. We are not to be a light when we feel like it or when other people are doing what is right. If we are to be Christ-like, we are to shine a light of love to people who might not necessarily show love themselves. But is it possible to love people unconditionally? Yes, and here is how:
Seeing Through The Right Lens | Unconditional Love
1. See people as Christ sees them. Christ loves us. He does not like our sin. But our sin does not douse His loves for us to any degree. Likewise, we should look past people’s sin and see them as someone made in the image of Christ who is worthy of love. Christ loves that person. And we should too. Before we could love anyone, Christ loved us: “We love because He first loved us.”-1 John 4:10 (ESV) If a perfect God can unconditionally love us imperfect people, how can we imperfect people not love other imperfect people? Having a compassionate view of humanity as Christ does it the key to unconditional love.
2. Remember you can still have boundaries. If a person continually treats you with disrespect you are not obligated to spend time with them. Not all people are going to be your friend or be friendly. You can still treat them with love and respect and respectfully think about them. But if someone continually acts in an unloving way, are they really your friend? And is a genuine friendship going to occur? If they need your help and are willing to receive your help, by all means, help them. But I do not believe we are required to develop friendships with everybody we meet. But we are required to love everyone we meet.
Forgiving Others | Unconditional Love
3. Forgiveness is the key to loving people when they have wronged you. The Bible says we are to instead let go of our anger and love others as you love yourself:
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. -Leviticus 19:18. You do not have to pretend that the wrong that was done to you was okay. What you have to do is not hold it against the person who harmed you. You need to let go of your anger and have love and compassion on the fellow sinner that wronged you.
Forgiveness also does not mean pretending that you were never hurt by the person. You can know that you were wronged and that the behavior was wrong. But acknowledging that you were wronged does not justify being bitter about it. You need to move on.
Christ calls us to love one another period. Not when we feel like it, not when we think the other person deserves it. None of us deserve Christ’s love. He did not have to die on the cross for us. But He relentlessly loves us, and we should follow His example and have an unrelenting love for other people.
Author: Zack Buckler, an entrepreneur in the Charlotte, NC area.
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